Gannett seeks to regain its “swagger”

Late yesterday, I posited the question of whether newspapers and their newsrooms, scratching for circulation, could regain their magic.

Today, Editor & Publisher released a Gannett directive that outlines the newspaper chain’s strategy to “get our swagger back.”

There is no doubt the tough economy, declining circulation and layoffs have hit newsrooms hard. Once filled newsrooms now feature empty cubicles. Morale is low.

But Gannett’s list of goals designed to regain their swagger features little that is new or innovative. It’s more crawl than strut.

1. Improve Watchdog Journalism. (Think investigations.)
2. Reposition the Daily Newspaper: Recognize that the newspaper is not a breaking-news medium; Develop unique content tied to community interests and focused on delivering depth, context, analysis, perspective; Produce local content that differentiates us as a media organization; and “get our swagger back.”
3. Reposition Our Web sites: recognize that our Web sites are the primary medium for breaking news; ensure the Web site is distinct from the newspaper; Address Web design, content, functionality and utility; Leverage the strengths of the medium; and explore consumer response to various paid content models and possible vendor partnerships.
4. Sunday Readership and Engagement: Create a content strategy to attract younger readers; Protect high-value content for loyal Boomer readers; Invest in sales and marketing resources to grow engagement in key demographics and geographic audiences: Leverage advertising opportunities around the special value of Sundays.
5. Be Strong Community Leaders: Protect our long tradition of helping our communities solve issues, set visions, right wrongs

The goals are great, something all good newspapers should aspire to. But there is just not a lot new here.

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